Giving levels header

Upward trend in HNW giving continued in 2023

For a second consecutive year, we can report that giving among the UK’s wealthy population has continued to grow.

Looking at the annual trends from our quarterly research, we can see positive results in both the median and average (mean) levels of giving, showing that high net worth (HNW) giving increased significantly last year and has been on an upward trajectory since 2020.

Giving increasing among the wider wealthy population

There was strong growth in the median level of giving among millionaires, suggesting that giving is increasing across the HNW population.

In 2023, the median level of giving among individuals with £1 million – £5 million more than doubled from £2,100 to £4,500 (see Figure 1).

Among those with investable wealth >£5 million, the median level of giving shot up from £5,600 in 2022 to £25,000 in 2023. This means more than half the population with wealth >£5 million gave above this threshold. The strong result was driven by high levels of giving at the start of the year, particularly in response to the cost of living crisis.

Last April, we reported that one in three millionaires made a charitable gift over £10,000 in the first three months of 2023. In fact, half of the respondents with wealth of £5 million – £10 million and two-thirds of those with wealth >£10 million gave more than £10,000 during the first quarter of 2023.

Although tailing off from a spike at the height of the cost of living crisis, giving remained strong across the wealthy population through the year, highlighting that the UK’s wealthy population responds generously when times are tough and other sources of income dry up for the charity sector.

Figure 1: Annualised median level of giving by high net worth individuals (2020-2023)

Graph figure 1

Major gifts also strong

The average (mean) levels of giving in the HNW population also grew in 2023; although the percentage levels of growth were more moderate.

Among those with £1 million – £5 million, the average level of giving grew from £34,200 to £39,100, a growth rate of 14%.

Among pentamillionaires, the average level of giving grew from £60,200 to £95,300, a growth rate of 58% (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Annualised average level of giving among high-net-worth individuals (2020-2023)

Annual mean level giving

The giving habit

These results tell us a lot about the changing giving habits of the wealthy in the UK.

Although starting from a low base, giving across the whole millionaire population has increased dramatically in recent years.

In 2020, we found the median level of giving among all HNWs was just £1,040. The average annual growth rate (AAGR) across the whole HNW population since then has been 88%, to reach a median annual giving level £5,600 in 2023.

Growth has been strongest among pentamillionaires, with an AAGR of 169%.

Major gifts have also been strong. If we look at the average (mean) level of giving across the whole HNW population, which is more reflective of major gift trends, the AAGR has been 47%, with little variation between those with investable wealth of £1 million – £5 million and those with wealth >£5 million.

The UK has always had a civic core of major givers, but these trends suggest that more HNWs are joining their ranks as they climb the ladder of philanthropy.

Upward trends since pandemic

We have been conducting quarterly research into giving levels by a representative sample of millionaires since June 2020, at the height of the Covid crisis. With 15 cycles of research now completed the upward trends are increasingly clear (see Figures 3 & 4).

Figure 3: Quarterly median level of giving among high-net-worth individuals (2020-2023)

Median level of giving among HNW

Figure 4: Quarterly average level of giving among high-net-worth individuals (2020-2023)

Mean level of giving for HNW


Total levels of giving by HNWs

In 2023, we further analysed the data with our research partner, Savanta, and with support from research experts across the philanthropy sector, led by Cathy Pharoah, Visiting Professor of Charity Funding, Bayes Business School.

The results from this research suggest that total giving by the HNW and UHNW population in the UK could be worth around £7.76 billion, and possibly much more.  This figure is largely missing from current estimates of giving in the UK. This is partly due to the methodologies used in other studies, and partly due to the fragmentation of data on the size and shape of civil society.

Despite the huge financial and social value of philanthropy from the UK’s wealthiest people, we still have relatively little understanding of their giving habits.

Better understanding of philanthropy

Further research is needed to understand more about the giving behaviours of the UKs wealthy population, such as the relationship between wealth and giving, the causes and institutions they support, how their giving changes through life and into legacies, and the impact of changing circumstances on their giving choices.

This insight would support fundraising organsations to develop their capacity and capabilities to enable HNW donors to give more and more effectively. It would assist policy makers and regulators to develop targeted incentives and supportive regulation. And, it would help tackle the pervasive media narrative in the media that the rich are not pulling their weight in the civil sphere.

As we begin another new and uncertain year, perhaps a resolution for the philanthropy sector could be to foster greater understanding of giving by the wealthy.

Only by better understanding the  growing cohort of HNW donors will we be able to ensure they are supported toward a lifetime of philanthropy.